Can Music be a Trigger for me to Relapse?

Music is an excellent tool for those living in recovery, given its ability to alter our mood and perspective in our day to day lives. However, this ability cuts both ways, and for every uplifting song in the world there is a depressing or stress-inducing one. Perhaps there were certain songs or albums you enjoyed listening to while using your substance of choice, or songs associated with other dark times in your life. Now that you are walking a path of sobriety, you should be wary of returning to these songs and albums as they could function as triggers for relapse in your life.

As addicts, we often ritualize our substance abuse, reveling in every step of the process from acquiring our drug of choice to consuming it via our favored delivery method. Part of this ritualization is often music - there are songs we enjoy listening to while going through our use process. Despite any passion you may have for these songs, you should avoid listening to these songs as they will still have a strong association with using for you. Wait at least a year before revisiting these old songs and albums, and even then do so with caution as music is remarkably powerful when it come to conjuring old feelings and memories.

As a person in early recovery, you should be mindful of the choices you make in terms of music consumption generally speaking. You may not realize it, but songs or albums you are choosing to listen to could be causing you stress, anxiety, or depression. The idea behind the old adage “you are what you eat” applies here, as the general vibe and emotions of the songs you choose to listen to will be reflected in your own attitude and emotions. In light of this fact, opt for songs which promote feelings of happiness, peace, and serenity in your life, rather than songs of negativity and stress.

The power music has over our mood and our attitude can be both a positive and a negative, depending on how it is exercised in your life. As a person in early recovery, you should be mindful of the sort of music you are listening to, especially when it comes to songs previously enjoyed during your substance abuse. At Evolutions, we strive to impart the necessary knowledge and skills to our clients so they are prepared to avoid relapse in early recovery. If you feel you could benefit from additional relapse prevention education, call our Admissions Counselors today at 833-818-3031 and inquire about enrolling in one of our outpatient treatment programs.


Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.

Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit